Most people join a gym to shed some pounds or pack on some muscle, both of which are noble goals. But what if we told you going to the gym doesn't have to be entirely about fitness?
There's way more to working out than a number on the scale. Here are a few reasons to hit the gym that have nothing to do with your body:
1. You'll find your sweat squad.
Let's face it: Making new friends is one of the hardest parts of being an adult. The gym is the perfect place to meet people (you already have something in common!) and it's easy to strike up a conversation. "Need a spotter?" is the perfect ice breaker.
Not to mention, having a workout buddy can hold you accountable for your fitness aspirations. Research shows having friends with similar goals may increase your chances of success. It's a win-win.
2. The gym gives your brain a boost.
Exercise might be most celebrated for its effects on the body, but it also benefits the mind. Studies suggest that exercise boosts cognitive function and enhances memory. Working out after a study session can also help with fact retention, Scientific American reported.
3. You'll have better sex.
If new friends and a healthier brain don't have you convinced, maybe more fun in the sack will.
Not only does exercise give you more self-confidence, physical activity can also directly impact your sexual health. A 2015 study found men who exercised more were shown to have improved overall sexual function.
4. Working out will spark some inspiration.
"Fitspo" photos have a tendency to provoke a self-esteem-crushing thought cycle. Going to the gym, however, is a healthy and realistic way to derive fitness inspiration from others on a similar journey.
Going to the gym can also inspire you in other areas of life. Research shows that regular exercise can have a positive impact on creativity. If you want to bring more imagination to your job, your hobbies or your life in general, lace up those sneakers.
5. Going to the gym will jumpstart your morning.
Waking up early, especially in the dead of winter, isn't usually someone's idea of a pleasant start. However, it is possible to become a morning person -- and one way to do it is to work up a sweat.
Hitting the gym gives you an energy boost and improves your mood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Making exercise a part of your morning routine will give you the jumpstart you need to make it a productive day.
6. You'll sleep better.
Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important parts of a healthy life -- and early morning exercise can help you achieve just that. Studies show mellow morning workouts, such as a brisk walk or a bike ride, may improve sleep quality in women.
Better sleep, in turn, can improve your relationships, your work life and your overall mental health. Sounds like a pretty great reason to get moving.
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